Millennials are Biking…or Not?


In response to popular culture’s characterization of millennial love for biking, Transportation Research And Education Center Director, and PSU professor, Jennifer Dill has broken down biking habits by generation. Her results show that GenXers have higher biking rates and interest, but that the data is more complicated than that.

Millennials do not bike more than GenXers, they do however bike more for transportation. They also like driving less, like transit more, and like biking about the same as their older peers. While Gen X cares more about bike lanes when looking for housing, the millennial generation looks primary for being within walking distance of places, then having public transit nearby. Added into the mix are economic restrictions of low wages and high debt that hamper millennial bike riding

Our indicators on alternative transportation provide a look at the modal split for the Portland MSA as well as both states and the US. The results are surprising. From 2011-2015, the ACS estimates put the bike commuting rates in the Portland Metro at exactly the same as the statewide Oregon rates, 2.4%. Walking commuters are more common in Oregon statewide (4%) and as frequent in Washington statewide (3.5% as in the Portland Area. Transit ridership is higher in the metro (6.4%) than Oregon (4.4%) or Washington (6%).

There is a silver lining unique to millennials then it comes to cycling. Millennials are the first generation without a gender gap in cycling. The future, at least for cycling, might be less sexist.